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Environmental law and governance have taken many different forms in the Americas in response to climate change mitigation. This contribution describes recent developments in the United States, Colombia, and Brazil, illustrating the divergent approaches to climate protection. The chapter highlights the common but differentiated ways in which the three countries in the Americas approach environment constitutionalism in the midst of the climate crisis. On one hand, Brazil and Colombia adopt a rights-based approach to tackle complex issues related to environmental law and governance in their context-specific responses to climate protection. In particular, the courts of Colombia and Brazil have been global pioneers in the recognition of environmental and even climate rights to galvanize political action. On the other, the United States uses a combination of market-based approaches and administrative enforcement of broad legislative principles to advance well-being, in the belief that markets, rather than political or judicial elites, are more likely to be responsive to both existing conditions and popular will. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which contains the most innovative and ambitious climate mitigation goals in the country’s history, exemplifies this approach. While the United States may provide a model of political and economic approaches to climate mitigation, courts in Latin America, as exemplified by Brazil and Colombia, are providing a model of progressive rights-based action. This contribution analyzes these national examples from a comparative perspective, assessing their promise for climate mitigation.


Comparative and Foreign Law | Environmental Law | Law

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.